Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Argo, Reddit’s Violentacrez, and Cook’s Illustrated

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Oct. 17 2012 11:12 AM

The Culture Gabfest: I Did It for the Lulz Edition

Slate's podcast about the movie Argo, the Reddit Violentacrez controversy, and Cook’s Illustrated.


Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 213 with Adrian Chen, Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

And join the lively conversation on the Culturefest Facebook page here:

The sponsors of today’s show are and the Emmy-winning PBS series Independent Lens, the weekly series that showcases the best in documentary film every Monday night at 10 p.m. on PBS. Go to and use the promo code “CULTUREFEST” for your no-risk free trial and bonus offer.

Culturefest is on the radio! “Gabfest Radio” combines Slate’s Culture and Political Gabfests in one show—listen on Saturdays at 7 a.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. on WNYC’s AM820.

On this week’s Culturefest, our critics discuss the movie Argo, its political topicality and Hollywood satire, and the career resurrection of director Ben Affleck. The Gabfesters are then joined by Gawker writer Adrian Chen to discuss his recent article which revealed the identity of Violentacrez, one of the most controversial members and moderators of the popular social news site Reddit. Finally, they consider the magazine Cook’s Illustrated and how its ascetic cooking ethos and emphasis on scientific rigor in the kitchen have influenced culinary culture.


Here are some links to the things we discussed this week:


Dana’s pick: The 1945 movie Brief Encounter, a small, intimate portrait of a convention-busting love starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, directed by David Lean, and based on the Noël Coward play Still Life.

Julia’s pick: An exhortation to the creators of the Showtime series Homeland (which rocketed to wild acclaim but lately tiptoes into the realm of the preposterous): Don’t jump the shark.

Stephen’s pick: A re-endorsement that comes to mind after the discussion of Cook’s Illustrated: Peter Robb’s, Midnight in Sicily: On Art, Food, History, Travel, and la Cosa Nostra, an anthropological, sociological, gustatory, sensual account of Italian cuisine, its history, and its inextricable ties to that country’s history of Mafia violence.

Outro: “What Will We Do Next” by The Orchids

You can email us at

This podcast was produced by Dan Pashman. Our intern is Sally Tamarkin.

Follow us on the new Culturefest Twitter feed. And please Like the Culture Gabfest on Facebook.

Adrian Chen is a freelance writer and an editor at The New Inquiry.

Stephen Metcalf is Slate's critic at large. He is working on a book about the 1980s.

Dana Stevens is Slate's movie critic.

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.



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